Gluing Up a Word Cut Out Project

When I first saw 3D signs, I was really curious how to attach the cut out letters. With details so small, I knew you wouldn't really be able to nail them down, and adding dowels in the back seemed time consuming and also impossible for the tiny stuff! 

I tried wood glue first, and let me tell you - it will work but will also be a HUGE mess, and most of the time your design will shift since it takes a long time for the glue to dry! Clamping small pieces is also not exactly possible so unless you want to stand there holding stuff for hours, another method is necessary!

The thing that has worked best for me is super glue. With a fast dry time and strong bond, this will keep your design attached (and it won't require clamping for the most part.). 

The tricky part though seems to be HOW to ensure your design is aligned properly. There are many ways to do this, and for this blog, I'm showing you how to do a glue up with transfer paper. 

You will need the following supplies for this type of glue up:

  1. Your design. 
  2. Transfer paper (or chalk or pencil)
  3. Ruler/Measuring Tape
  4. Painters Tape
  5. A pen

 

First, you will need to lay out your design on your finished backer. I typically will have my backer sealed with a water based sealer before gluing, as well as my letters! This way you don't miss a spot and you don't risk ruining your entire sign if you somehow make a mistake with the sealer after the fact. 

Using the ruler, ensure that it is level and aligned how you want it.

Tape your design down, and using the transfer paper, trace your design onto the backer. If you don't have transfer paper, you can rub coloured chalk or pencil on the back of your design. This method is a bit messy, but if you've sealed your work it will be easy to wipe off if you make unnecessary marks. 

Double check your design has transferred, and then remove the tape. 

Using your super glue, cover the back of your pieces and gently dab them on a scrap of wood before setting them on your backer. This will prevent the gluing from seeping out. 

Hold the piece down however long the glue requires (typically 30 seconds - 1 minute). 

Repeat until you are done! It's always a good idea to let it sit for a while before trying to move to make sure it's fully dry! 

And if you're a visual learner, here is a quick video of this process!

 

Did this help you? I'd love to hear if it did in the comments! And if you want more tips, let me know what you'd like to learn about :) 

 

5 comments

  • What material do you normally use for your backer board? And for the lettering, do you usually use plywood? Wondering how does it withstand the elements? Thanks. Loved your video. Very helpful.

    Wilfred
  • I am so happy I found this post this morning. I need to glue up my first name sign I made for my new granddaughter and was wondering how I was going to get it placed correctly. Now I know. Thank you for being willing to share your knowledge!

    Teresa
  • Wow this is awesome!! Thank you so much for posting this is great and I love your work. I think what I would be curious to see is what the board looks like after you’ve used the transfer paper to show where things go. Because you didn’t complotrace the letters I’m curious as to what it looked like and how you lined it all up.

    Abi
  • Thank you for sharing! I have been wanting to try out 3D signs but needed this to get me started :)

    Lorrie
  • Love it!! Thank you so much!

    Tavifa Egorov

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